Review: Reality Blurs – Agents of Oblivion (Savage Worlds)


Agents of Oblivion
Agents of Oblivion is a modern action horror and espionage setting for Savage Worlds written by Sean Preston and Ed Wetterman and published by Reality Blurs.
By Aaron T. Huss

Agents of Oblivion is an action packed spy-thriller placed in a world filled with conspiracies, supernatural beings, the paranormal, and the organizations that support them. Player Characters assume the role of agents working for the secret organization Oblivion in its never-ending quest to combat the evil that threatens our world. But don’t think Cthulhu as Agents of Oblivion is more akin to Men in Black and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with PCs that are equipped with all manner of gadgetry to face the worst the world can throw at them. Additionally, there is an aura of espionage as conspirators abound within known and underground organizations across the world have their own involvement in the manipulation and promotion of these vile threats or even creating a few of their own.

Agents of Oblivion allows the players to immerse themselves in a fluid world filled with secrets. Everywhere you turn, another conspirator could appear or a creature of unknown origin may come bounding toward you, ready to strike. The players must keep their characters alive and use the technology at hand to keep the world safe from that which they do not understand.

AGENTS

Characters assume the role of agents working for the company called Oblivion, dedicated to fighting the evil across the world. To get players started quickly, plenty of new and setting-focused mechanics are presented for agents including archetypes (for quick creation), new skills, new Hindrances, and new Edges. All of these new mechanics reinforce the modern action and espionage themes running throughout the setting.

SETTING RULES

To better accommodate the differences Agents of Oblivion has compared to the Savage Worlds core rulebook, you get a full listing of all mechanics focused on embracing the setting. This includes a look at extended trait checks making the standard skill check more dynamic and dramatic while containing noted benefits and consequences while performing the task. After all, disarming a bomb shouldn’t be as simple as rolling one skill check. Where’s the drama in that? Powers do not work the same; there are no Power Points and characters are able to perform higher-level spells with a negative modifier.

GEAR

Gear is extremely different (it is espionage) and there are new mechanics for requisitioning equipment before the mission begins or during the course of a mission. Agents of Oblivion brings in resource management mechanics along with spytech and single use devices that all embrace the idea of modern action and espionage. This is backed up by a large weapon list. Spytech is technology linked to Savage Worlds Edges while single use devices are linked to Powers. This reimplementation of existing mechanics makes for a great addition to the setting by supporting the idea that as spies, you need access to cool spy gadgetry.

SETTING

Less than half of the book is meant for player use with the rest being for the Game Master’s eyes only (called the Director in Agents of Oblivion). The setting is a translation of pieces of history and how they correspond to Oblivion and their corresponding nuances. There is very little content here, but in all honesty, the setting is designed to focus more on current events set in modern time. If you want to know more about the setting, it’s Earth’s history, just a little more supernatural and paranormal. It’s not a setting where one will spend time look back on its history, but rather game-play will be more focused on current events. As such, even though the setting is thin, it doesn’t detract form the overall purpose and quality of the book.

MISSIONS

Missions, the whole purpose of the game, and possibly one of the most valuable tool-kits in the entire book. The missions section is more than just creating a mission; it’s about developing a game-play style that suits the GM’s and player’s desires. In similar fashion to Realms of Cthulhu, Agents of Oblivion offers a number of mechanics that can be adjusted between None and High across different aspects of the system to produce a wide variety of play styles. In addition, a number of quick-use antagonistic agencies with adventure information is presented. Topping it all off is a group of pre-generated Savage Tales presented as story-arcs with statted out NPCs. For those who want to create their own, tool-kits for creating custom antagonist agencies and NPCs are offered. There’s no reason why a rushed GM couldn’t crack this book open and find everything they need to create a series of adventures with little prep time.

OVERALL

Agents of Oblivion is an awesome book. With a number of GM tool-kits and new mechanic implementations, games using the setting are bound to be exciting and filled with action and adventure. As a stand-alone setting, it’s a great romp of action and horror. As a tool-kit for other settings or something homebrewed, it’s a powerful tool-kit filled with gadgets of all type and plenty of content to get your adventures going. All-in-all, it is a very well-rounded publication.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Agents of Oblivion is a very simple book in terms of layout and format with some excellent, yet simple illustrations to support the content. However, while the book flows well and is extremely easy-to-read, there is a lot of white space throughout. Instead of allowing much of the text to wrap from page to page, many headers were moved to a new page. While it looks great keeping a single entry on a single page, it results in a lot of white space. Overlooking this is considerably easy as the content is good and the mechanics are awesome.

Reality Blurs made the decision to keep the art within strictly black and white (sometimes grey, black, and white, but not greyscale). To me, this decision has a few different effects. First, it gives me a sense of simple yet effective purpose of the content (the setting and the mechanics). The black and white pictures are the simplest form, yet what they depict is done effectively, adding that visual appeal to the book. The second effect harkens back through the days of spy-thriller movies and film noir. This gives the setting a little depth saying, “The setting is not simply new-age, represented by over-the-top art; it is older than many realize.” When you read about the setting, you will find that the struggle of man versus the unknown is millennia old. A third effect is that it reminds me it is a setting filled with espionage and to avoid being too “loud” while you are on a mission. Full-color, epic-styled illustrations are more heroic and “in your face” in nature, but that’s not what espionage is about.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
This book is FILLED with new mechanics and new implementation of existing mechanics. In addition, similar to Realms of Cthulhu, Agents of Oblivion contains mechanics to shift the type of game-play desired. However, the spectrum of possible styles is quite vast given the number of options (alien, conspiracy, horror, occult, and technology) and their range of incorporation (none, low, moderate, and high). This mechanic alone creates a huge spectrum of game-play opportunities simply by adjusting the dial of thematic options. Of course, Reality Blurs doesn’t stop there.

One of the most interesting mechanics developed for Agents of Oblivion is the implementation of Resource Points, Spytech, and Single Use Devices. Spytech encompasses training and technology, acquired by spending Resource Points, associated with Savage Worlds Edges. Each one has a linked Edge that provides the agent with a short-term boost (typically one mission) equivalent to the bonus provided by the linked Edge. Thus an agent that requisitions an auto-stabilizer device gains the benefit of the Steady Hands Edge for that mission. Single Use Devices are technology-based items associated with Savage Worlds Powers. Each device is used only once to provide the same effect of the linked Power. These are two major mechanics that support the modern action and espionage themes of the setting.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
The setting surrounding Agents of Oblivion is loosely defined and open for numerous interpretations. Being that its set in modern times, there is little need to go really deep into the setting. It’s Earth with a little more horror, not much else is needed. With that in mind, the book is jam-packed with awesome mechanics that bring about the elements presented in the book surrounding that loosely defined setting. Horror, action, adventure, espionage, investigation, and a whole-lot of ass-kicking with cool gadgets. It’s the ultimate team of James Bond characters fighting against all manner of evil. At the very least, Agents of Oblivion makes a great campaign framework and sourcebook for a setting designed by the Game Master to match the type of game they want to run and the type of atmosphere they want to create. The flexible game-play type allows for every GM to tweak the setting as they please to match that which the players will enjoy the most. Anyone that wants to play any of these styles of games will find an abundance of use from Agents of Oblivion.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Agents of Oblivion is the ultimate spy master’s tool-kit wrapped around some cool mechanics that allow the Game Master to create virtually any type of game that encompasses modern action, horror, and espionage. The book contains a plethora of new and reimplemented mechanics for Savage Worlds that truly embrace the theme being conveyed throughout the book. From cover to cover, Agents of Oblivion presents the reader with a wealth of opportunities to run exciting games filled with action and adventure.

To further support Roleplayers Chronicle, use the following links to purchase this book:

Amazon: Agents of Oblivion (Savage Worlds, REB70001)

PDF Download DriveThruRPG: Agents of Oblivion

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